Finding a New Job = Understanding You

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to find a new job. Whether to seek a promotion, make more money, or improve one’s work/life balance, the reasons are varied. But as you begin the journey to find that next opportunity, you must first be sure you understand yourself, your goals, your wants and needs, so that you stay on the right path. No one can provide this understanding for you. Since you might not even know where to begin, here are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving into the job search.

  1. What would you do, within the general context of your professional skills and abilities, if you knew you couldn’t fail?
    The fear of failure is paralyzing for many people. It often leads to not seeking greater professional challenges or taking on new responsibilities. So if you were guaranteed not to fail at something, what would it be? The answer to this question may help you narrow your focus for new opportunities and hone in on the skills you need to learn or improve before finding that next job.
  2. If money wasn’t an issue, how would you approach your job differently?
    This question isn’t really about money. Money is important – you would be fooling yourself if you said it wasn’t. However, despite what many people think, money doesn’t equal happiness. So this question is about what turns you on, professionally (e.g., bleeding edge technology, the opportunity to lead projects, the ability to mentor younger staff), and what your true aspirations and goals are. Understanding that, you can better formulate a strategy for identifying jobs that will be right for you.
  3. What are your values?
    What is important to you in how you go about your business? Fairness, honesty, integrity, and hard work are all usually at the top of most people’s lists. But what else? Some companies are very structured with strict management protocols, while others are looser and fly by the seat of their pants. Some companies hold strong to the moral codes of business, while others tip toe (or worse) into the grey areas. By understanding what your professional values are, you can prioritize what is important to you in looking for a new employer.
  4. What is your 60-second elevator speech?
    A quick google search results in countless articles and blogs on this very topic. You know the scenario: You get into the elevator with the CEO of a company you have always dreamed of working for and you have one minute alone with him till he gets off at his floor. What would you say? You have probably heard and been asked this question repeatedly (and in different ways) in interviews. Most people don’t really answer it well, and some wouldn’t know what to say at all. You can talk about your accomplishments, the companies you have worked for and recite the rest of your resume. And the CEO won’t be impressed.

I cannot tell you how to craft your own speech (like I said, do a quick google search and you won’t be at a loss for great how-to articles). But by thinking about what you have discovered in answering the previous questions – your goals, aspirations, values, etc. – you have the basis to formulate your own elevator speech. Take each of your answers and think about how you could benefit your next employer, and you will be well on your way to having a great elevator pitch.

Finding your true answers to these questions will most likely not be easy, and probably won’t come to you the first time you sit and think about them. It is a process; you need to give it the time and attention it requires if you want to better position yourself for that great next job.

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Russell Wolf is Director of Strategic Development at Technical Connections and has over 16 years of experience in delivering effective staffing and software development solutions for the Information Technology industry throughout California.

Email Russ directly – rwolf@tci-la.com and follow him at twitter.com/iamthejobguy

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